DER Documentary

Island in the China Sea



From the China Coast series in the Faces of Change collection
by George Chang, Richard Chen, and Norman Miller
color, 32 min, 1974
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Tai A Chau is home for both farmers and fishermen who use the island as a permanent harbor for their small floating homes. The daily routines of Mr. Wong, a fisherman, and Mr. Ng, a farmer, are representative of their respective problems of survival, mutual dependence, and hopes for the future.

Island in the China Sea is the introductory film in the China Coast series of Faces of Change. It provides a broad overview of the rural societies of both the island farmer and the boat people who harbor here. It traces the lifestyle of agricultural and fishing families, juxtaposing their daily activities and their tacit interaction. The symbiosis is in delicate balance, however, since ideas of class and caste set the two groups apart. Island farmers have traditionally regarded boat people as inferior.


About the Faces of Change collection
This revolutionary series of 26 - 16mm films and videos, funded by the National Science Foundation, produced by Norman Miller and documented by some of the finest ethnographic filmmakers of our time is now available through D.E.R. The films examine 5 cultures selected for the diversity of their geographic location: starting with the China Coast at sea level and moving up to Taiwan, then to Afghanistan, Kenya and finally to the mountains of Bolivia. Each location is examined through 5 themes: Rural Society, Education, Rural Economy, Women, and Beliefs. Detailed instructors notes are available for an additional $10.00.


films in the China Coast series:
China Coast Fishing
Hoy Fok and the Island School
The Island Fishpond
Three Island Women



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